This Promising Biotech Can Triple
By Mohsin Saeed - June 19, 2013 | Tickers: ONCY, PFE, TEVA | 0 Comments
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Mohsin is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
Cancer is one of the deadliest challenges that humans face today. Different forms of cancer have taken millions of lives all around the world. According to studies, every year approximately 7.5 million patients are diagnosed with cancer. This also presents a massive commercial opportunity for healthcare companies making cancer drugs.
Recent studies have revealed that viruses are the best way to treat cancers. Some specific viruses attack the cancer cells in the upper body which results in sort of immune response against these infected cells. As all cancer therapies aim to reduce cancer cells, viruses automatically become a unique method of targeting and eliminating cancer cells.
Oncolytics (NASDAQ: ONCY) is working on a formulation of the reovirus which can be used to target cancer cells without serious harm to the body. It is targeting a number of different cancer forms, and initial trial data is hopeful. Any conclusive evidence of Reolysin success, even in a single form of cancer, will make Oncolytics a goldmine because it will imply that it will also be useful in other RAS activated cancers.
Every year Millions are diagnosed with cancer, and there is still no comprehensive treatment for this life threatening disease. According to research, the cancer drug market is almost $80 billion and will be worth $100 billion by 2015. Almost 67% of all cancers are RAS activated which is a testament to the true potential of Reolysin.
Reolysin has already attracted attention from not only the investment community but also the medical research community. The American Association of Cancer Research has shown a lot of interest in Reolysin, and the body is working with Oncolytics to bring this treatment to patients. It is providing both funding and support for various trials of Reolysin.
Oncolytics is using a shotgun approach to test the viability of Reolysin as a cancer treatment. It is targeting a number of different RAS activated cancer simultaneously. The company has 6 treatments in Phase II trials and one in Phase III trials. The most important results are those from Phase III; REO-018 for Head and Neck cancer. This is because this is the only trial nearly completion and will provide the first conclusive evidence of Reolysin’s usefulness. Therefore, it will be solely responsible for shaping market perception on the entire Reolysin range.
Reolysin Phase II and Phase II Trials
OSU-07022 - Patients with Metastatic Ovarian, Peritoneal and Fallopian Tube Cancers
REO 018- Head & Neck Cancer
IND 211- Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
OSU-10045- Pancreatic Cancer
RIND 209- Prostate Cancer
IND 210- Colorectal Cancer
IND 213- Breast Cancer
The initial trial results from Reo-108 have been hopeful. In this trial, Oncolytics administered Reolysin in combination with paclitaxel and carboplatin, to patients with refractory head and neck cancer. The mid trial results show that the regime is effective with 86% showing reduction/stabilization in tumor size as compared to only 67% in the control group. These results are indicating towards positive end-results for Phase III. The market should expect Phase III results by year end, and any positive announcements can trigger mammoth rallies.
The company has also announced preliminary data from mid-stage trials of Reolysin impact on metastatic melanoma tumors. The test involved the intravenous pumping of Reolysin along with carboplatin and paclitaxel. Oncolytics has stated that the results were as per expectations and support progression to more comprehensive studies.
In a few years, the cancer market will reach a $100 billion and leading healthcare companies are already looking to extend their domination. The patent crisis has crippled key healthcare names like Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) and Teva Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: TEVA). Pfizer has lost exclusivity to its highest selling drug Lipitor, and Teva’s Copaxone is being threatened by competition.
Pfizer has almost 8 candidates in its oncology franchise. The acquisition of Oncolytics can create opportunities to try Reolysin combinations with its own approved compounds and pipeline candidates. Pfizer is one of the richest companies in the healthcare sector and has approximately $35 billion in cash and short term investments. Pfizer’s Balance Sheet will be least impacted by a $300 to $500 million acquisition. This will be money well spent if it can improve Pfizer’s prospects in a $100 billion oncology market.
Teva is another company looking to expand its product pipeline and has enough cash to acquire Oncolytics. The company’s website lists ‘Selectively Invest’ in ‘Oncology Women's Health Biologics’ as its key area of focus. Control over Reolysin will certainly help it achieve this goal. Despite the obviously high potential of Reolysin, any potential buyer would wait for conclusive results from Phase III trials of REO-018.
The market capitalization of Reolysin has halved since February without any major catalysts of news. The only logical reason behind this sell off is the $4 per share common stock offering. The other reason can be investors taking profits after a phenomenal 3 month rally which almost tripled the price.
At current valuations, Oncolytics is a bargain by any measure. The stock has shown a lot of resistance around the $2 mark and I believe has bottomed out at current valuations.
The mid-stage results of REO-108 have been tremendously positive, and final stage results are expected by year end. If these results are satisfactory, the market will push Oncolytics above $6 per share. Therefore, I recommend Oncolytics as a long term buy for Reolysin’s potential and the prospects of an acquisition. Less
On the sideline, hit my stop loss few days ago. trading pattern is very strange, don't you think. I like the science and believe FDA will approve the drug but looks like CHTP management wants to issue more shares first....I'll wait and see what happen.